August 1, 2009
The first, second, and fourth of these Opry programs are vintage, post WWII Grand Old Opry with Red Foley as emcee. That's when electric guitars, including the non-pedal, Hawaiian-style steel, found their way onto a stage where only acoustic instruments had been allowed before.
The fourth is a bit scratchy but well worth listening to, especially because it includes the late Hank Williams and his Drifting Cowboys singing "You're Gonna Change, Or I'm Gonna Leave."
The third one, dated 1965, reveals much of what changed (pedal steel, drums, and louder lead electrics) and what did not — such as the usual corny but funny medicine show-like humor. Bear in mind that the Opry's radio shows were scripted, unlike the spontaneous, sometimes improvised ones that were presented onstage at the old Ryman Auditorium.
These broadcasts are real country. What they call "country" these days is not worthy of the name and neither is the pop stuff played today at Opryland.
If anyone has other early Opry broadcasts to share with IA, I wish they would. These artists and sounds are forever lost.